Mid Down Group have now come to the end of the winter programme and it has been a busy and varied year.
The group has had a mix of speakers, on various topics, a night at the carts were we were glad that there were no penalty points being awarded for speeding or reckless driving and an update from head office on the current issues facing our members.
In October James Baird gave us a rundown on what training and licences are required by everyone to be legal for spraying and handling sprays.
November’s meeting was by David Trimble of CAFRE and he brought us up to date on the Renewables, solar panels, wind turbines and grid connections. He gave an insight into the costings and potential income from each type of renewable.
By December it was decided that members needed to let off a bit of steam and were surprised by the competitiveness of members once they got onto the track. The members raced through the heats, and semi-finals and eventually first on the podium following the final was Samuel Tinsley – obviously the time on the motorbike has paid off.
The group had a very informative meeting in January with Taxation issues being discussed by Uel Erwin of NFU Mutual and Seamus McCaffery of SP McCaffery Accountants.
As expected there was a lot of interest as no one likes paying tax and definitely no one likes to pay more than they have to. Hopefully the members got lots of guidance that night and if anyone needs a copy of the slides they are available by e-mail in the office.
With the Presidents Area meeting and the County Dinner running in January and February when the AGM and annual update came along in February Barclay Bell took us through some of the less well known areas of UFU work.
The work of many of the Rural committees is largely unknown by the members and this was a great chance to see what is going on. Topics covered included agricultural vehicles being excluded from using Hillsborough Main Street, and the closing of small crossings on the A1 which will be a major problem for farmers and contractors in the area.
The group again had success in the silage competition with Robert Macauley coming in second in the Northern Ireland final of the dairy class and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on his continued success.
The group had planned a farm walk for its March meeting but due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to postpone this until further notice. Further details will be sent out as and when this gets underway.